Portable Easel and Woodworking Challenges

If there’s one thing that really intrigues me with woodwork it’s being approached with a challenge or project that needs to be solved.  The mental stimulation and trial and error process of actual hands on work to conquer that challenge “races my motor”!  Honestly, it doesn’t make too much difference whether it’s a large and complicated challenge like the recent Mechanical Cellarette or a simpler one like the hardware for this current easel project.

Most of you know that my wife, Diane, is an accomplished artist.  Here is her gallery site if you’d like to check it out.  I enjoy the opportunity to not only make, carve, and gild her frames but also assist her in photo shots and make art related furniture for her.  This includes a number of easels from a pochade box to a full sized studio easel.  The one currently in progress is more of a portable one that attaches to a camera tripod making it light and easy to transport.  It isn’t my original design but rather one “borrowed” from James Coulter and modified to suit Diane’s requirements — hey, when you’re married to a woodworker why spend money on something he can make?

Handle and Knob Complete

Handle and Knob Complete

I’ll show the completed easel in a few days, right now it’s in the finishing stages but here are the two “problems” that I enjoyed solving so thought I’d share them with you.  To carry this Diane asked for a handle.  The pieces that make up this part of it are only 7/16″ thick and 1″ wide so there’s not a lot of material to work with.  Let’s start with the carrying strap.  It’s a piece of leather from Tandy designed to be used for reins.  I use it to secure the pistol in my pistol cases.  The handle needs to lay flat when in use so the solution was to put a slot in it so it could be pulled out to carry and pushed flat when in use.  Here’s how I solved this problem:

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Where I was stumped was how to make the insides of the slot smooth.  I finally hit upon the idea of using the drill press and carefully running a 3/16″ drill bit inside of it; probably not OSHA approved but …..!

The other challenge was to make a knob that didn’t look like the standard plastic ones available commercially.  The movable part of the easel has a 1/4 x 20 threaded brass insert.  I’ve learned that epoxy alone isn’t enough to secure a threaded rod into a hole — it’s going to work it’s way loose.  To solve that you can use either a thin brass rod or a thin screw (my choice) to secure your threaded rod into the wood.  After drilling the hole for your threaded rod, put it in place and then drill whatever size hole is needed to match the screw or rod you have.  In my experience, the threads not only pull their way through the wood and brass but also give your epoxy more grip — check this out:

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Looking forward to completing this project and showing you the results.  In the meantime I’m also busy finishing the last couple of boxes and making price tags and info for the upcoming Summerlin Festival of the Arts.

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About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my sell and carvings through my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodworksbyJohn?ref=si_shop Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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One Response to Portable Easel and Woodworking Challenges

  1. ctregan says:

    Will be watching for easel progress…..

    Liked by 1 person

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